Making the Future

Classroom innovations connect Canadian students

Photo: Owen Egan

“In what kind of Canada do you want to live? What do you want your future to look like?” Hockey Hall of Famer and former Liberal Member of Parliament Ken Dryden has been challenging his students to tackle these questions in his pioneering course, “Making the Future”, since 2011.

Through a combination of lectures, guest speakers and Q and A sessions, students are asked to think critically about hot-button topics of relevance to Canadians, including family, religion, health care, diversity, politics, and crime, among others.

An innovative twist to the course was introduced in a 2014 pilot project. Using video conferencing and other telecommunications tools, students from McGill were connected with students at the University of Calgary creating a “virtual classroom”. These technologies helped bridge the geographic gap between the two universities, allowing the unique perspectives of students from both regions of Canada to be shared and discussed in “real time”.

The success of this pilot has spring-boarded an even more ambitious initiative: in the 2015 offering of the course, McGill and Calgary will be joined by other Canadian universities from coast to coast—the University of Saskatchewan, Ryerson, and Memorial University. A classroom in the Arts building is currently being renovated and will house the McGill cohort of the expanded course. With a larger space and greatly enhanced videoconferencing equipment, students can look forward to participating in an even larger national conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing young Canadians today.

The Evolution of "Making the Future"

McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

L'Université McGill est sur un emplacement qui a longtemps servi de lieu de rencontre et d'échange entre les peuples autochtones, y compris les nations Haudenosaunee et Anishinabeg. Nous reconnaissons et remercions les divers peuples autochtones dont les pas ont marqué ce territoire sur lequel les peuples du monde entier se réunissent maintenant.